HMCS Athabaskan, April 29, 1944

This is the story of the sinking of the Athabaskan G07.

I have started writing an English version of my French blog on the Athabaskan because so many English speaking people have helped me yesterday in my reseach. It is the least I can do for these wonderful people.

My wife’s uncle says he was a sailor working in the engine room of the Athabaskan.

He does not want to talk more about it… like so many veterans.


This is what Jerry Proc wrote on his Website.


In September 1939, the RCN decided to order new ships to replace the old destroyers previously transferred from the Royal Navy (RN).

The RCN preferred the Tribals with their heavy gun armament because they wanted to take the war to the enemy instead of relying on purely defensive vessels.

Originally all of the Tribals were to be built in Canada but this was not practical at the time since Canada did not have an extensive ship building industry.

The British Admiralty agreed that the UK should build the first ones and they also acted as agents, arranging for the Canadian Government to buy the Tribals by a system of direct instalments while Britain paid cash for the corvettes being built in Canadian yards for the RN.

The first two ships were laid down as IROQUOIS and ATHABASKAN but IROQUOIS was delayed by bombing while on the stocks. ATHABASKAN was therefore renamed IROQUOIS and launched as the lead ship while the original IROQUOIS was launched as ATHABASKAN.

After her commissioning on 3rd February 1943 at Newcastle-on-Tyne, she was assigned to the British Home Fleet but ATHABASKAN was plagued with mishaps during her very short service life.

The ship left on 29th March 1943 to patrol the Iceland-Faeroes Passage for blockade runners. Weather induced stress caused hull damage

This took five weeks to repair at South Shields, U.K.

In June 1943, ATHABASKAN took part in Operation Gearbox III, the relief of the garrison at Spitsbergen.

On June 18, she collided with the boom defence vessel BARGATE at Scapa Flow, resulting in a month of repairs at Devonport.

In July and August of 1943, she was based in Plymouth, carrying out anti-submarine patrols in the Bay of Biscay and on August 27 was hit by a glider bomb off the Spanish coast. She managed to reach Devonport where she remained under repair until November 10.

Returning to Scapa Flow in December, she escorted convoy JW55A to Russia but in February 1944, rejoined Plymouth command and was assigned to the newly formed 10th Destroyer Flotilla.

On 26th April, she assisted in the destruction of the German torpedo boat T 29 in the Channel off Ushant and three days later on 29th April, was sunk by a torpedo from T24, an Elbing class destroyer, north of the Ile de Bas.

2009-08-19 T_35

Elbing class destroyer



Captain Stubbs

Her Captain, John Stubbs and 128 men were lost, 83 taken prisoner and 44 rescued by HAIDA.

My wife’s uncle was one of the crew…

When I started my blog in French, I found the story on the Internet.

The text is in French and is part of a book. The author is Yves Dufeil and he gave me permission to use it in my French version of my blog.

If you have war memories of some of your relatives and you want to share them with me and my readers, click here to write to me.

Next time, I will talk about the wonderful people who helped me yesterday.

You can write to me by clicking here.


14 thoughts on “HMCS Athabaskan, April 29, 1944

  1. My husband’s Uncle was William Donald McCrindle. He is one of the missing men from that fatal night. We are going to France next week and making our way to Roscoff, Isle de Batz and area by end of month. He will be the first of his family to go to Donald’s final resting place. Donald was very close to my husband’s mother and his last letter was to her. Overwhelming to finally have family go.

    1. Name: William Donald McCRINDLE
      Birth Place: Codette Sask.
      Residence Place: Choileland sask.
      Service Number: V1854
      Regiment: Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve
      Rank: Able Seaman
      Next of Kin: Mrs. C. E. McCrindle
      Relationship: Mother

    2. He is honoured on this Website.

      MCCRINDLE, William Donald, AB, V-1854, RCNVR, MPK – 29 Apr 1944 – MISSING: AB William Donald McCrindle, 23, son of Mr. and Mrs. W.J. McCrindle, Nipawin, was reported missing after the sinking of the Athabaskan in a channel engagement last week. He was born at Codette, Sask., educated at Pontrilas, and enlisted in the navy at Saskatoon in 1942. About six months ago he was posted to the Athabaskan. Besides the parents there is a brother, Barry, at home; two sisters, Cora, at home, and Mrs. J. Clarke, at Choiceland, Sask. (The Regina Leader-Post 08 May 1944)

      1. No we don’t. We have been told to go to for that information and have not done that yet. Thank you for answering me back with everything that you have received on Donald.We are hoping to visit the right places when we go to France in regards to the Athabascan.
        Our trip is two-fold as my father Lucien St. Amand fought in France with the 6th Field Regiment RCA as a gunner and a signaler. Fusiliers Mont-Royal, South Saskatchewan Regiment and Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders were Battalions that were attached to his 21st Battery.He came from a small french village (Zenon Park )in Saskatchewan and made it back home while many didn’t. He died at 88 and just started talking about his experiences toward the end of his life. Thank You , Merci for all the work that you have done towards your wonderful blog – there is more interest now and more books written about WW2 than ever before!

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